Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mom: Weight Loss and Hair Loss

There are a lot of special moments that happen during pregnancy and after pregnancy.  For example, feeling your baby kick and holding her when she is born are two pretty special memories.  There are also a lot of pretty terrible moments.  For example, knowing that with every Andy's Cheeseburger and order of fries with a side of cheese sauce and a Dr. Pepper you eat, you will have to work that much harder to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. 
I never did this, the Big A challenge.  But I thought about it.

So, as for my weight loss, I am pretty proud.  I am three months and one week postpartum and I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  Or at least what I think my pre-pregnancy weight was (I am not really sure what it was because I absolutely hate getting on the scale).  But all of my clothes fit.  And some are even too big. As you may remember, when I had to weigh during pregnancy at my appointments, I would do it backwards.  I didn't want to know how much I was gaining.  Because I was pretty confident I was going to gain over the recommended 25-35 pounds, so why upset myself.  Its not like I could go on a diet.

Now, I cannot say I lost the weight all by myself.  And I think I gained somewhere between 43-47 pounds (But you will never get me to reveal my weight). The day after we came home from the hospital, I signed up for Weight Watchers Online.  I knew that I would need a program because I have never had to lose weight like this.  Now, I know they are not giving me millions of dollars to plug their program (I think Jessica Simpson gained all that weight on purpose), but I will say I plan on using it for the rest of my life. 
I wish they would  pay me. 

Weight Watchers is awesome!  It is not a diet AT ALL!  Seriously!  You can eat whatever you want so long as it is within your points.  There are assigned Daily points and assigned Weekly points.  For example, I get 29 daily points and 49 weekly points.  You are supposed to spread the Weekly points throughout the week, but I usually use a bunch on Saturdays and Sundays.  You also earn Activity Points.  I always try really really hard never to eat those points.  But I have had to a few times, like when we went to that wedding.  And I know I will have to next week when we are in Florida for vacation.  So yes, Weight Watchers is pretty much the best thing ever and is worth spending $18 dollars a month for the rest of my life.  If I have to, I'll give up other things before I give it up.
I am a believer.

Along with my weight loss, my hair loss has been going pretty well too.  How many of you knew that most woman experience hair loss after they give birth?  Well, it usually occurs about 3 or 5 months postpartum.  And when it happens, it gets really scary really fast.  I am so afraid I am going to have bald patches.  I am using special shampoo that I bought at Sally's and taking Biotin, a hair and nail growth supplement.  But apparently this will likely continue until September.  It can last longer for women who are breastfeeding, but I'm not, so hopefully it ends soon.  And while it really stinks to be losing my hair, it is totally worth it.  I'll trade long flowing locks any day for the chance to be Susan's mom.
Pretty soon, Susan and I will match.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dad: Father's Day and Man-Pregnancy

Yesterday was my first Father’s Day, and my wonderful wife turned it into a great weekend on behalf of Susan and four-year-old dog, Oscar. She planned a fun family picnic to the Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail, which is (history lesson) the last remaining track used during NASCAR’s inaugural season in 1949. It was a great idea because the entire family, including Oscar, could come and celebrate Father’s Day while doing some things that we don’t normally do: semi-hiking/exploring our town/nature and shit. Well, it turned out to be great fun for everyone, but I don’t think anyone enjoyed it more than Mary, who got to show me a little bit of what she went through during the 8.75 months prior to Susan’s arrival.

Father’s Day was also the debut of the Baby Bjorn, AKA the Male Pregnancy Simulator 3000. Here’s a picture of me proudly sporting the new baby carrier, complete with 15-pound baby accessory.

Before I learned the truth about the Baby Bjorn.
Susan fussed at first, but once she got snugged up, she was happy. I walked her around the house for a few minutes to get a feel for it. It was great! Carry the baby AND have two hands free? Absolutely! Why, I could read a book, mow the lawn or pretend I was trapped inside an invisible box…the possibilities were endless! If the people on the Baby Bjorn box were any indication, hiking and picknicking was going to be a blast! 

This family is all geared up for tennis followed by bowling and rock climbing.

If anyone needed a reminder, my wife carried Susan around in her womb for nine months. Yes, she occasionally said that her back hurt. I tried to be as sympathetic as possible. Well, after carrying Susan around in the Baby Bjorn for an hour, I’m now certain that I could never handle being pregnant. I’m a moderately fit person, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can prepare any man for the first time he front loads his three-month-old infant and starts walking. As it so happened, my first experience with man-pregnancy was on the trails of a North Carolina state park. With hills.

As I said, I never tried the Baby Bjorn before Father’s Day. The packaging on the box shows a happy father and his happy baby trouncing around who-knows-where with smiles on their faces. What it doesn’t show is how complicated the contraption is to put together, the father swearing during assembly and the baby wailing as it’s “inserted” into the carrier. Never in my life has fitting two pieces of equipment together been so difficult (Hold the sexual jokes please. I figured that out eventually, as evidenced).

Nowhere on this box are the words "Some assembly required."
What the BB also fails to show is the excruciating back pain you get from trying to stay upright while gravity latches onto your 99th-percentile-weight baby and pulls you both unyieldingly to the ground. When Mary was pregnant, her worst back pain was right between her shoulder blades. Guess where mine was. I complained once, and Mary shot me a “Well now you know what it feels like to carry a baby in your uterus.” I didn’t complain anymore.

At the halfway point...the Baby Bjorn is no
longer "hands-free."
I’m not complaining now, either. Today was one of the best memories I'll ever have and easily the most fun we've all had as a family. I just wanted to share with the dads (or dads-to-be) out there the lesson I learned on my first Father’s Day. If you want to know what your pregnant wife is going through on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour or minute-to-minute basis, just strap on the Baby Bjorn, drop a 15-pound bowling ball in there and walk around the house. Hell, just sit down for an hour and tell me that’s not difficult. If you drop something, don’t bother trying to pick it up.

So on my first Father’s Day, ironically, I gained even more respect for my wife.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mom: Oscar and Susan

Oscar is our dog and first child. He is a 16-pound Border Terrier who plays like a big dog and occasionally has small dog syndrome. And by occasionally, I mean every time he sees other dogs. He is super friendly and very playful. And we have spoiled him ROTTEN. He knows how to sit and down. Chris also taught him to shake and "leave it." He graduated twice from puppy school but it didn't really take. And it is all our fault.
Seriously, how can you get mad at that face?

He has the sweetest face, so whenever he does something wrong, he just looks at us and he is instantly forgiven. Now he doesn't chew on anything that isn't his and he doesn't have any terrible habits, but he is obsessed with going outside. For the first 3.5 years of his life, going outside always included the leash. He had a daily walk, but we didn't have a fenced-in backyard. When we bought our house in November 2010, we promised him that the first thing we would do is fence in the yard, which we did. Since then, he has never looked back. He loves it. He runs at the door and starts barking and jumping like he might explode if you don't let him out that minute. It's really his only bad habit and we don't really know how/don't feel like correcting it.

All the pregnancy books said that the baby could hear voices and other outside sounds during the pregnancy. Well this is definitely true in our case. Oscar barks several times throughout the day. When he sees the wayward squirrel who is visiting the backyard, when he sees real (and cartoon) animals on TV, and when the doorbell rings. He also sings. Some border terriers sing. Oscar is one of them. He will be snoozing on the bed, and then all of the sudden lift up and just release the most "beautiful" song. And Susan heard all of this when she was in my uterus. So that first day when we brought her home and he literally barked in her ear (the same way he barks at the vacuum), and she didn't flinch, I knew it was true. 

Since their first meeting, Susan and Oscar's relationship has really improved. He licks and kisses her and sits by her. Well, about three weeks ago, she started really seeing him. And now he is her absolute favorite thing to look at. Forget us, her parents who feed, clothe and bathe her. Not to mention wiping her butt. If Oscar is around, he gets all of her attention. She smiles at him, coos at him and has even started reaching for him. The other day, she was playing on the floor. She would grab his leg and each time, he would reach down and kiss her. And according to Chris, last week, she reached up and grabbed a fistful of fur. He looked at her like he couldn't believe she had done that and walked away. She immediately stopped cooing and look confused as if to say "where did he go." The attention she gives him could make a lesser person jealous, but I am a big girl. Sort of.
He looks like a big stuffed animal...
We make her smile like that too.  Sometimes.

 The girl isn't crawling yet, but when she does, I bet it will be after him. And I fully expect "Oscar" will be her first word, considering how often we say it. But they are already best buds. Oscar sits by her, runs to us when she cries and always comes upstairs with us in the morning when it's time to get her up. And if he thinks she is awesome now, just wait until she is tossing him Cheerios from her highchair. They will definitely give Chris and I a run for our money.
Sometimes, Oscar doesn't feel like sharing the spotlight.  So he takes it over.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mom: Essential Items

I have been meaning to write this blog post for a while. It is basically my advice to anyone who is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant. But it is going to be a continuous post that I will add to every so often. We are both going to try to start blogging once a week, and write shorter posts. So here goes.

First, if you are planning to use disposable diapers, then you would be wise to stock up before the baby comes. Now if you are planning to use cloth or some kind of reusable diaper, then skip this. But if you are like the rest of us who are filling landfills with our babies poops, then stock up. Some of you may say "But we don't know what will work?" Come on! Do your research now and start buying. A good diaper is a good diaper. And huge poops will explode out, no matter what brand you choose.

This poop is going to be epic...

Now Pampers are awesome. I hear Huggies are just Ok. But have you priced Pampers? Babies go through a lot of diapers. Do you really want to spend all that money on the Lexus of diapers, when the Toyota works equally as well and shows what a smart shopper you are? I am talking about Target's Up and Up brand. Their diapers are AWESOME!!! I have also heard good things about the Sam's club diapers and Costco diapers.

Seriously the best bang for your buck.
 Anyway, we did our research when we were pregnant. And spoke to much wiser mamas, like my best friend Kristi. Wal-mart's Parent Choice diapers are not good (but their wipes are awesome). So once I hit about 16 weeks, we started buying a pack of diapers a week. So did my parents. We bought one box of Pampers Newborns and the rest were Target Up and Up. We started off with Size One. Once we had about 500, we switched to Size 2. Then size 3 and so on. Now some of you may be thinking "what if you overbuy?" Well you don't need a receipt. We asked. The box clearly says "Up and Up" so if you need to exchange a box of size 2s for size 3s, they will let you. We are so thankful we did this. We have enough diapers for a whole year thanks to some smart planning and help from my parents! So stock up people.